So I guess it’s chickpea week! No, it’s not #nationalchickpeaweek (that hashtag doesn’t even exist) but this week on my blog chickpeas are making an appearance two posts in a row. Check out Monday’s Broccolini Chickpea Pizzas if you haven’t yet – it’s a tasty one.
I don’t know if I’ve said it before but I LOVE chickpeas. They’re such a healthy, versatile plant-based protein and they’re so easy to keep on hand in my pantry. Actually, aside from the fresh spinach, this entire recipe is pretty pantry friendly.
As always, when I post an Indian-inspired dish, I want to give you the disclaimer that this might not be the most authentic version (remember Aloo Gobi-ish?). I love chana masala when I go to Indian restaurants and I think this at-home version tastes really good without using hard-to-find ingredients.
You likely have many of these spices on hand, although for this recipe, I recommend that you check and make sure your spices are pretty fresh. Dried spices don’t really go bad, but they do lose their potency over time, so if your spice drawer items are over a year old, you might think about refreshing them.
(Note that I’ve shown cardamom powder in the spice photo above, but this recipe is actuallly best with whole cardamom pods).
Chana Masala isn’t supposed to have spinach but, hey, I like to pack in green vegetables whenever I can.
Serve this with steamed basmati rice and/or naan.
- 1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3 cardamom pods, minced (discard the outer shells)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 2 (14-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 5 to 8 ounces fresh spinach
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice + 1 tablespoon lime juice, more to taste
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and generous pinches of salt and pepper and cook until browned and very soft, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the cumin seed halfway through.
- Add the coriander, turmeric, cardamom, garlic, garam masala, ginger and cayenne pepper, if using, and cook until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Add ¼ cup of water and scrape the bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes and another few pinches of salt. Stir and bring to a low simmer so that it’s bubbling just a bit. Cook on medium heat to thicken, about 6 minutes.
- Add the chickpeas, ¼ cup more water, and another pinch of salt, and let cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced and it’s a thick stew, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Stir in the spinach until wilted. Remove from the heat.
- Add the lemon/lime juice. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more lemon or lime if desired. Add the fresh cilantro just before serving. Serve with steamed rice and naan, if desired.